Susan Surface

Susan Surface

Seattle, WA, US



S. Surface is a designer and photographer, an organizer of events and exhibitions, and a researcher of the politics of art, design and architecture. Surface’s practice centers the creation and preservation of livable, equitable places, and demonstrates how design can support civic participation by integrating research, curatorial work, and creative production.

At Design in Public, Surface is director of the Seattle Design Festival and curates exhibitions at the Center for Architecture & Design. Surface is also a curator at The Alice, an independent artist-run gallery. Surface has been an architectural designer with super-interesting!; an organizer with Architecture for Humanity and Artist Studio Affordability Project; and a researcher with C-LAB and the Network Architecture Lab at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.  

Surface was a 2014 A-I-R at The Center For Photography at Woodstock, was a teaching fellow in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department at Yale, and earned a B.F.A. in Integrated Design from Parsons School of Design and an M.Arch from Yale School of Architecture.


Susan's School Blog on Archinect:

Yale School of Architecture (Susan)

Category Title


Design in Public, Seattle, WA, US, Director

Design in Public is a strategic initiative of AIA Seattle, the 6th largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. We were founded in 2011 to help Seattle appreciate the role and impact of design on urban life. I organize the annual Seattle Design Festival, create year-round public programs, coordinate competitions, commission public design and artworks, and will curate exhibitions in the new Center for Architecture and Design, opening in early 2016.

Jan 2015 - current

Columbia Laboratory for Architectural Broadcasting - C-LAB, New York, NY, US, Research Coordinator

Designed, in collaboration with Community Health Councils and 596 Acres. LAOpenAcres identifies the locations and owners of 23,000+ vacant lots in Los Angeles. It addresses disparities in access to green space by enabling residents of park-poor neighborhoods to activate unused land, and offers clear pathways for participation to policy makers, land owners, and advocates.

Researcher for 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, "Fundamentals," Volume Magazine, and Hulic Tokyo and Columbia University GSAPP's Center for Urban Real Estate on environmentally sustainable real estate and building longevity in Japan.

Aug 2012 - Jan 2015


Yale University, New Haven, CT, US, MArch, Architecture, Women's/Gender/Sexuality Studies, Teaching Certificate

M.Arch I
Certificate in Women's, Gender, Sexuality Studies
Certificate in Teaching

Sep 2007 - Dec 2012

Parsons The New School for Design, New York, NY, US, Bachelors, Integrated Design Curriculum

Concentrations in graphic design, architectural design, and sustainable/ethical business management.

Sep 2000 - May 2004

Central Saint Martins, London, GB, Study Abroad

4d: Photography, Video, Time-Based Media

Sep 2002 - Jun 2003

Areas of Specialization